Blog 11 May 2020

PowerApps and Liberty Create

by Richard Farrell


PowerApps and Liberty Create – how do they stack up?

In our last blog post, Richard Billington wrote about the differences between no-code and low-code platforms. In many organisations, there’s room for multiple tools and platforms and each can be put to the use for which they are best suited. One product I often get asked about is Microsoft PowerApps.

Let’s see how PowerApps compares to Liberty Create.


PowerApps starts as a no-code product that’s well suited for departmental users looking to extend the capability of systems they may previously have built in Excel spreadsheets. If you want to put together a friendly front-end to an Excel data store and make it available on a mobile device, PowerApps can be a very effective solution. For those with deep MS Office experience, who are really strong at building Excel sheets and/or Access databases (most of us only really use about 5% of the capabilities of those tools), PowerApps is a perfect next step to extend those, especially within a small team.

Many of these apps tend to remain siloed though. They may connect to (and pull data from) other systems but the data they create is likely to stay local and within the team. And that’s understandable, not only because the scope of that data is likely to be departmental, but also because opening up access to core system databases for update by these apps could cause a whole heap of trouble.

What’s missing is the security, governance and audit capabilities that an enterprise low-code platform provides. If you want to start to add those capabilities and turn PowerApps into a low-code platform, all of a sudden lots of additional Microsoft back-end servers and systems will be required (Azure, SQL Azure, Dynamics 365, Common Data Platform, Flow, Power BI, Outlook 365 etc.) along with their associated licensing schemes. Licensing schemes that have become so complex, Gartner have had to write notes to guide customers through them.

When that happens, the idea of a simple, easy-to-use system that departmental users can use on their own, goes out of the window. That’s evidenced by some Microsoft resellers, who position the platform for ‘trialling potential developments’ so that they can “take the apps you create with Power Apps and scale them up into a solution you can roll out across your business.”

Liberty Create

There’s lots of information here on the power of the Liberty Create platform so I won’t repeat it here. Let’s look at some of the differences between it and PowerApps.

Create appeals to both business and IT developers because it addresses the needs of both. For business people, they can create the apps they need as it’s quick and easy-to-use. For IT it provides the power, scalability, security and governance capabilities that are necessary. The key is meeting the needs of both together and providing a platform that fosters collaboration between business and IT that then powers innovation for the organisation. Working together they can develop apps faster than just about any other approach.

Create started out as a platform focussed on the needs of business developers to build apps quickly. As we’ve added the additional capabilities needed by Application Development & Delivery (AD&D) professionals, we’ve kept a single-minded focus on ease-of-use as a key element to delivering the power they need.

John Rymer, Vice President, Principal Analyst at Forrester points to this in the “The Forrester Wave™: Low-Code Development Platforms For AD&D Professionals, Q1 2019” report when he states

“The firm’s expertise in and tooling for business developers make it a potential choice for clients seeking a single platform for both professional developers and business experts. Reference customers report that the product requires very little training to produce meaningful apps.”

Create brings all the tools necessary together in a single platform. Unlike PowerApps where many different backend systems may be needed, Create can be deployed on any infrastructure you like. A class-leading database is supplied with no additional licensing or deployment required. It can integrate with any data source including Dynamics. Email is built-in and application development is simpler and quicker. The licensing model is simple and transparent meaning that from the outset, the costs for using the platform are clear and there are no pricing shocks down the road.

For many customers, having a close relationship with their vendor is something they value greatly. Getting a very high-level of locally provided support, along with access to key people and the ability to input to the platform roadmap, make a key difference in their ability to utilise the platform to deliver for their business.

As David Patterson, Head of Solutions & Delivery at HTB Bank says, “We’ve had very strong engagement with Netcall, from the CTO all the way down – we value this support and attention greatly… there are only a handful of suppliers where we genuinely feel we get that top level of support.”

In Summary

There are clear differences between no-code and low-code tools. Between PowerApps and Liberty Create and others. Different platforms are suited to different projects and there is room for more than one platform in the arsenal of tools at an organisation’s disposal.

Create lends itself perfectly where both business and IT have development needs as it allows them to work together to deliver apps to the business. Create brings everything necessary together in one solution that’s easy-to-use across the enterprise, to deliver world-class customer experience (CX) for customers and users.

Take a look for yourself at Liberty Create.

Chief Innovation Officer

German-born, Simpsons-obsessed and with a not-so-secret penchant for Welsh techno, Richard is Netcall’s long-serving CIO – he’s been with us for an impressive 19 years, meaning he’s somewhere between ‘living legend’ and ‘part of the furniture’ around here.

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